car stereos & components?
2008-11 Subaru Impreza Wagon
2008 • 2009 • 2010 • 2011
2008 Subaru Impreza WRX with 6 speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)
The 2008-11 Subaru Impreza Wagon is a popular AWD vehicle, especially big with the tuner crowd and in areas that suffer from harsh winters. The WRX version, in particular, has made its mark as a sporty, high-performance vehicle with lots of room for mechanical and cosmetic upgrades.
The Impreza comes with either a basic 4-speaker system or a premium 6-speaker system, and you'll find a ton of upgrades available for both sound systems. This is a straightforward vehicle for car audio installations. You can replace the factory stereo and speakers pretty easily and even retain the steering wheel controls.
Replacing your factory radio
|Standard Subaru radio (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Basic 4-speaker system
Replacing your factory radio with an aftermarket car stereo is an easy way to add new functionality like HD Radio™ reception or Bluetooth® connectivity, plus take your sound quality up a notch or two. If you have the standard Subaru radio, you'll need a dash kit to install either a DIN (2" tall) or double-DIN (4" tall) stereo, and you'll want to get a wiring harness that connects to the factory Subaru plug so you don't have to cut the factory wiring. If you have the Subaru navigation radio in your vehicle, you'll also need an antenna adapter that'll connect your Subaru antenna lead to your new aftermarket stereo. (Crutchfield includes the dash kit, harness, and antenna adapter needed for this installation free with most orders, along with our step-by-step instructions for your Impreza.)
|Subaru radio with navigation (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
If you don't want to change out your radio, you’ll find adapters that let you connect your iPod® to the Subaru's radio, then control it with the radio or with your steering wheel controls. You can definitely put together a complete audio system with new speakers, amplifiers, and subwoofers while retaining the factory radio, but a nice aftermarket stereo offers superior circuitry that will make these upgrades sound even better.
|Impreza dash disassembled (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Premium 6-speaker system
You'll know you have the upgraded 6-speaker system if you have tweeters in the corners of the front door's windows. The speakers in the front and rear doors are 6-1/2" in both sound systems, with the premium version having tweeters on the door speakers in addition to tweeters in the sail panel location on the front doors. Both speaker systems use the same dash kit and wiring harness for stereo installations.
Note: If you have the Subaru satellite radio, Bluetooth, or iPod connection option, you’ll lose it when you install a new stereo. And, of course, you'll lose navigation capability if you replace the Subaru navigation radio with a receiver without GPS.
Steering wheel controls
Two companies (PAC and Axxess) make adapters that allow you to connect your Impreza's steering wheel audio controls to a new car stereo. The Axxess ASWC-1 adapter will auto-sense the Subaru's wiring and automatically program itself, so we recommend this adapter to retain the steering wheel audio controls in the Impreza.
Tools needed for installing new stereo:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Panel tool
Replacing your factory speakers
|Front door in 4-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Basic 4-speaker system
The basic system comes equipped with 6-1/2" speakers installed in the front and rear doors. Subaru generally uses 4-ohm speakers in their vehicles, so an aftermarket 4- or 2-ohm speaker will work well if you're replacing your speakers but keeping your factory radio.
|The factory 6-1/2" speaker in 4-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Front Doors: You'll have to remove the door panel to get at the factory speaker, which is mounted in an integrated bracket that's attached to the door with three Phillips screws. You can use mounting brackets to install any aftermarket 6-1/2", 6-3/4" and 5-1/4" speakers, but you'll have to drill a new hole to install the bracket in each door. Wiring harnesses are available to connect your new speakers to the factory wiring. (Crutchfield includes mounting brackets and speaker wiring harnesses for free with every speaker order).
|Rear door speakers (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Rear Doors: Installing new speakers in the rear doors of the Impreza is exactly the same process as the front doors. The door panel must be removed to get at the factory speaker, and the speaker lives in an integhrated bracket that's attached to the door with three Phillips screws. You'll have to use mounting brackets to install any aftermarket 6-1/2", 6-3/4" and 5-1/4" speakers, and you'll have to drill a new hole to install each bracket.
|The rear door 6-1/2" speaker in 4-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Premium 6-speaker system
The premium 6-speaker system in the Impreza adds tweeters in the corners of the front windows (the sail panel), and upgrades the door woofers to 2-way speakers (with tweeters). Like the basic 4-speaker system, all of the speakers are 4-ohm.
|Upgraded door speaker with tweeter in 6-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Speaker locations: The speakers in the front and rear doors of the premium system can be removed from their bracket, which means you can install aftermarket 6-1/2" speakers without using a mounting bracket or drilling any new holes. You can also install a 5-1/4" or 6-3/4" speaker in the front and rear doors, but you'll have to use a mounting bracket in each location and you'll have to drill one new screw hole to install each bracket.
|Tweeter location of 6-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Tweeters: The premium system includes tweeters built into the sail panels of the front doors, and they are easily accessed. You can pull the sail panel away from the door to release the clip that holds it in place. Installing an aftermarket tweeter requires a little ingenuity as tweeters don't come in standard sizes. You may have to make modifications or create a mounting plate to get a new tweeter in there. The factory tweeter is 1.38 inches in diameter, and you only have about 1/4" of depth in the location, so you may have to cut a hole in the grille and surface-mount the new tweeter. You'll have to splice into the factory wiring, because there are no wiring harnesses available for this location in the Impreza.
|Tweeter from 6-speaker system (Crutchfield Research Photo)|
Tools needed for installing new speakers:
- Phillips screwdriver
- Small flat screwdriver
- Panel tool
- Wire stripper/crimp tool
- Crimp caps
- Drill and 1/8" bit
Adding bass to your Impreza
4- and 6-speaker system: The bad news is that nobody makes a custom-fit sub enclosure for the Impreza, but the good news is that finding room for a subwoofer and amplifier (or a powered sub) in this wagon shouldn’t be a problem. You’ll need to tap into the rear door speakers or run wires to the rear of the factory stereo to get a signal to your subwoofer system.
An amplifier will give you a big boost in the performance of your new speakers. We don’t recommend using an amplifier with your factory speakers because they won't handle that much power.
If your factory radio came equipped with satellite radio, you will lose that option with a new car stereo, so look for a new radio that’ll work with an outboard SiriusXM tuner. You can also add a Dock-and-Play satellite radio that you can take from car to car.
Digital Signal Processor
If you want better sound, but don't want to modify your Impreza's dash, there is another option for vehicles without factory amplifiers. The Helix PP50DSP processor will make a dramatic improvement in the sound of your factory system. It works like this: you buy the processor, along with a vehicle-specific cable and a plug-in powered sub. The cable plugs into your factory radio's plug, connecting the processor/amp to your factory speakers. Next, go to Helix's site, download your vehicle’s audio parameters onto a microSD card, then load that info into the amp/processor. The PP50DSP is now ready to use equalization and time alignment to make your factory speakers sound great. Add in the bass from the optional Helix sub, and you've got a total system upgrade with minimal work.
There’s plenty of room behind the dash, so any aftermarket in-dash navigation receiver will fit in the Impreza.
It's a pretty straightforward process to install a security or remote start system in this car. If you plan on installing a new security system you can use the FlashLogic FLCAN or XpressKit DLPK interfaces to make the installation easier and save you some time. You can complete the install without those devices but you will need four XpressKit 650T diodes for door trigger isolation.
Installing a remote starter kit involves leaving a spare transponder key in the car, which you will tuck away in a bypass like the Code Alarm UTI or the Xpresskit TBXKEY. These boxes install behind the dash with your spare key mounted within. Finally you will need an XpressKit 8617 relay to finish the starter install. We also suggest you put your factory alarm in valet mode so it can't be accidentally triggered. Check your Subaru manual for directions on how to do this.
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